The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is pushing for a 100% tariff increase for it to be able to supply adequate power and ensure sustainability.
ZESA is charging an average of US$0.063 per kilowatt-hour but wants the tariff to be hiked to US$0.1236 per kilowatt-hour.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) commercial director, Ralph Katsande said that a tariff review will go a long way in ensuring that the power utility generates sufficient revenue to fund operations and maintenance of its infrastructure. Said Katsande:
The current tariff level averaging of 6.3 US cents per unit is subeconomic. ZESA requires a cost-reflective tariff equivalent of 12.36 US cents per unit to efficiently provide service.
Katsande made the remarks during a stakeholder engagement meeting in Tengwe, Mashonaland West Province.
He said the tariff had fallen to a paltry US$0.032 per unit in August 2020 before it was adjusted in September that year.
Due to low tariffs, ZESA has a huge backlog of distribution network maintenance as it lacks the funds for the rehabilitation of infrastructure. Said Katsande:
For example, the Northern region alone requires to change 16 000 rotten poles on its 23 655 kilometres distribution network at a cost of US$ 2.1m or ZWL$181m.
Katsande further revealed that the ZESA distribution network is currently experiencing over 106 000 faults per year and about US$16 million is required to replace over 2 000 vandalised and faulty transformers.
Meanwhile, Chinhoyi Residents Association Chairperson Tapiwanashe Chikondowa suggested that ZESA technicians are involved in the theft of ZESA cables and transformers. He said:
How can thieves know that they will be no ZESA in a particular area? Look at the rate they have gone in Chinhoyi, ZESA should investigate this internally. This is an inside job.